Living and Working in the Age of Harassment

The list is growing…and we’re not talking about Santa here, kids. The REALLY naughty list of names stretches from Silicon Valley to Hollywood— and now even Richard Branson has added his name to it. With a new poll from TIME Magazine showing that almost half of America’s working women say they have been harassed at their jobs, we are beginning to realize just how deep the rabbit hole goes.

Human resources knows all about it. You brave folks sit on the front lines of harassment claims (both real and false) on a daily basis. But a new website and app is being created by Claire Schmidt, a technology executive at the 20th Century Fox studio, that aims to kinda bypass HR and take these things straight to the CEO.

Schmidt announced recently the formation of a new website, AllVoices, to let women and men bypass their company’s human resources and anonymously report instances of harassment, discrimination, or bias to their CEO and board of directors. She hopes to launch the site within the next few weeks.

“It’s really important to encourage people to speak up publicly, but not everybody feels comfortable doing that,” Schmidt says. “I see the tool as something that can augment what’s happening in the public sphere.”

But does it really solve the problem to bypass HR? I mean, HR is by far the best equipped for the task of knowing the laws, protecting employee privacy and somehow keeping the big machine of the company rolling right along all through it. Plus, many CEOs (ahem, Richard Branson) may actually BE the harassing party and what do you do then? This is why we HAVE the Human Resources dept in the first place, right?

I think when you have people of all genders and races occupying the same space for any length of time, you’re gonna have some potential issues. But I also think that HR is the most capable of managing those issues effectively. Creating new tools to bypass HR will a) make their jobs more difficult because now they could be left out b) expose the company to even more litigation because claims weren’t handled properly because we all know — details count including how much time passes between contact and EXACTLY how the company responds.

Times like these make us grateful that we just have to deal with the lunacy of employee benefits and healthcare insurance. And if we can help our HR front-line warriors out there by making that stuff a little easier for them, then we’ve done our job.

Learn Moore:

Sexual harassment: This site would let employees bypass HR, go straight to CEO

Richard Branson accused of sexual harassment by singer, says he has ‘no recollection’

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